Wild about Wiltshire
What is Wild about Wiltshire?
Our new Wild about Wiltshire approach to grass cutting improves biodiversity and encourages bees and other pollinators to thrive. This new scheme encourages areas to be left for rewilding and other areas chosen to promote wildflower growth.
The rewilding and wildflower areas have been chosen by towns and parish councils throughout Wiltshire. The areas will receive a single cut in March and will then be left uncut until September to allow the wildflowers to thrive.
Why are rewilding areas and wildflowers important?
Rewilding is a conservation effort aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes, effectively humans step back and leave the area to nature. These efforts can create natural ecosystems that require little or no management.
Wildflower areas create vital habitats for insects and other wildlife and attract natural pollinators, and also help to keep soil healthy by reducing the need for pesticides and artificial pollination. Fruits and vegetables such as apples, strawberries, raspberries and more rely on pollinating to produce a good crop.
Wildflower areas can also be beneficial during the winter when other food is scarce for birds and mammals, wildflower seeds can become an important food source.
Where will this take place?
We will be trialling rewilding and wildflower areas across rural road verges and more urban grassy areas and parklands.
Areas chosen would not compromise safety or hinder the passage of highways/amenity users. Highway Verges are now cut, where possible, following flowering, so that seed can be set. Should a Parish Council wish to enhance this level of maintenance further by either the collecting of grass cuttings or sewing seed, then verges within speed restricted areas are the most likely to be considered suitable for the involvement of volunteers on grounds of safety.
Current areas chosen for rewilding are:
- Bonners Close, Malmesbury
- College Fields, Marlborough
- Harvard Close, Melksham
- Falcon Way/Hurricane Way, Melksham
- Falcon Way/Hurricane Road, Melksham
- Biss Meadows, Trowbridge
- Paxcroft Brook open space, Trowbridge
- Westbury White Horse
- Elm Grove, Trowbridge
- Fore St, Warminster
- Portway Lane North and South, Warminster
- The Common, Warminster
- Small grain picnic site, Calne
- Penleigh Park, Westbury
- The Mead, Westbury
- Cannings Close, Hilperton
How are the areas chosen?
We wrote to all town and parish councils in Wiltshire and asked them to nominate any grassed areas or public open spaces that they wished to designate as wildflower meadow, reduced cutting or left for rewilding. If you wish to suggest an area, please speak to your local town or parish council. Contact details can be found: Town and Parish Council Details
If you are a representative of a local town or parish council looking to nominate an area for rewilding, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a Wild about Wiltshire form.
Can I get involved?
Yes, by all means! The simplest way to encourage wildflowers into your own garden is to stop mowing and say "no to the mow!" Simply mow your lawn once in spring and then again in the autumn and remove all the cut grass. This will give the perennial wildflowers a chance to push through the grass.
Please do share your photographs of Wild about Wiltshire meadows and wildflower areas on Twitter using the hashtag #WildaboutWiltshire and tag in @wiltscouncil - we'll share the best!
No Mow May
We will be taking part in No Mow May, a national conservation campaign, first made popular by UK based organisation Plantlife.
The goal of No Mow May is to allow grass the grow unmown for the month of May, creating habitat and forage for early season pollinators. Research has shown that simple changes in mowing can result in enough nectar for ten times more bees and other pollinators.
We will take part in the campaign on all our environmental, wildflower and non-safety grass areas throughout May.
Residents are also urged to consider whether they can support the campaign by leaving areas uncut.
More information about the initiative can be found No Mow May (plantlife.org.uk).